Tag Archives: Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen at 60: A Personal Appreciation

Guest Column: My good friend Gavin Evans pays tribute to Bruce Springsteen, who proved to be a remarkable companion on Gavin’s emotional and political journey.

I always was a sucker for prolonged crushes, but this one, well, it has survived longer than most and is unlikely to fade: we’ve been through a lot together, you see. Time then to shout if from the rooftops (though, come to think of it, I haven’t exactly held back previously). So…. on your 60th birthday, take a bow, rock-n-roll’s finest lyricist.

Oh, I know there are other songwriters who possess wonderful ways with words but Bruce Springsteen is a lyricist of a different kind: a story-teller who spins yarns with a profundity few can match. Bruce’s writing hero is Philip Roth, but his own deceptively simple approach is closer to Raymond Carver: little stories about big things, and he tells them in the voice of characters on the edge, who embrace cliché only to turn it on its head, who feel at once unique and for all time.

Lyrics are not the same thing as poetry, and those who pretend they are – by, say, giving students Bob Dylan to read alongside WH Auden – are silly (I prefer the approach of the poet Simon Armitage, who gives Dylan to his students as an example of how not to write poetry). The need to relate words to tunes imposes restrictions that do not exist in poetry. Still, within these confines, Springsteen’s writing has so often expanded the horizons of its chosen form. Continue reading

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